Kingsley resident Larry Smith was at Wuerfel Park early on Wednesday.
"I'm a pretty good fan," Smith said. "I've only missed one or two games."
Smith bought season tickets for the first time last year and watched the Traverse City Beach Bums come a game away from the postseason. This year, no drama was needed as the Beach Bums opened the Frontier League playoffs against Southern Illinois on Wednesday as the No. 1 seed.
With seating for the playoffs being general admission, Smith took advantage of a perk for season ticket holders — entrance to Wuerfel Park 30 minutes prior to the gates opening for the general public. He was there and ready to go in the same seat he's sat in all year when fans began streaming in at 6 p.m.
Smith was excited for the playoffs. So were the 70-plus that were lined up as the gates opened.
But not many followed as a sparse crowd took in a 1-0 Miners win.
Getting homefield advantage gave the Beach Bums a few, well, advantages. Since they locked it up over a week ago, they could set their pitching roster just the way they like it. And if there's a decisive Game 5 next Monday, it will be in Traverse City.
The homefield advantage, though, came with one big drawback. The schedule. While Traverse City gets games on Wednesday, Thursday and Monday, if it goes that far, Southern Illinois got the weekend with Saturday and Sunday games.
Homefield advantage — great for baseball, horrible for business.
Attendance was listed at 1,256, more than 3,000 fewer fans than Sunday's regular season finale.
Those at Wuerfel Park on Wednesday were behind the Beach Bums, but something was missing.
Kids. Or more specifically, the families which line the rows to watch the Beach Bums on a summer night.
Summer, though, ended this week as kids headed back to school on Tuesday. And on the second day of school, things like homework, sports practice and getting a good night's sleep took precedent over playoff baseball for the families who frequent Wuerfel Park.
Team owner John Wuerfel could relate. Even his grandchildren, who usually help out at Beach Bums games, sat this one out.
"(Playing on a school night) is a tough time for families, I understand that," Wuerfel said. "But, this doesn't come around every year."
Wuerfel is right. And those at the park like Smith took advantage of the chance to watch playoff baseball. But, it's also hard to argue with families sitting this one out.
It'll be interesting to see what happens as the playoffs progress and families get settled into a fall routine. Perhaps they'll come back to Wuerfel Park. Perhaps they won't.
Either way, there are good seats to be found.
Kingsley resident Larry Smith was at Wuerfel Park early on Wednesday.
James Cook: Pistons will once again be interesting
Last year, I said the Pistons 2013-14 season would be “interesting.” Not necessarily good, just interesting. And indeed they were.Continued ...
Tom Lindley: Posturing, predictions fly as SEC turns to a new season
There’s plenty to enjoy about the Southeastern Conference’s annual cattle call in Hoover, Ala., where media of every description join players and coaches from each of the league’s 14 football teams to discuss the coming season.Continued ...
Tom Lindley: James bears the weight of Cleveland's dreams
LeBron James has done it all on a basketball court. He’s a great scorer, rugged defender, proven big-play leader and champion. But that might not be enough in Cleveland, where he’ll also need the powers of Merlin the Magician.Continued ...
James Cook: So I might not be a rock star, just yet
Curling looks easy. It isn't. The one consolation I can take away from a stint as a Traverse City Curling Club team replacement player is that there were no falls. A few close calls, but no biting the ice.Continued ...
Dennis Chase: St. Francis enjoying spectacular spring
After a slow weather-related start, the prep spring sports season is closing fast, beginning this weekend with the state tennis and track finals.Continued ...
- Tuesday, May 27, 2014
James Cook: Stafford has no excuses left going into season
Now that the Lions have added wide receiver Golden Tate and spent their No. 1 pick on a potential dynamic tight end in Eric Ebron, there’s no excuses for Matthew Stafford.Continued ...
- Monday, May 12, 2014
Dennis Chase: Lions did well, but secondary still a concern
The NFL draft grades are in. And, for the most part, pundits gave the Detroit Lions a B. The major criticism, of course, was that the Lions waited until late in the fourth round to pick a cornerback.Continued ...
- Tuesday, May 6, 2014
James Cook: Detroit's draft could hinge on quarterbacks
It's all about the quarterbacks. There's a lot of teams that need them, and many of the franchises picking ahead of the Detroit Lions are in that same boat.Continued ...
- Monday, April 21, 2014
Dennis Chase: Lions should take guesswork out of draft
With the NFL draft approaching, Detroit’s been teasing its long-suffering fan base by bringing in defensive end Jadeveon Clowney, receiver Sammy Watkins and outside linebacker Khalil Mack for meet-and-greets.Continued ...
- Friday, April 18, 2014
Bob Gwizdz: Perfect day on the Manistee River
WELLSTON -- Tired of waiting for the St. Joseph River to clear up -- and having postponed our annual St. Patrick's Day (or thereabouts) steelhead sojourn already into April -- Jim Romine made the call: We were going to the Manistee River instead. AndContinued ...
- Thursday, April 17, 2014
Dennis Chase: Area loses one of its all-time best
Kim (Schneider) Monthei, a former All-State basketball player at Elk Rapids, passed away Monday from breast cancer at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor. She had just turned 42 on Saturday.Continued ...
- Saturday, April 5, 2014
Tackling some current sports news
This is the time of year for big questions. Who will win the NCAA Tournament? Can the Detroit Tigers make another playoff run?Continued ...
- Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Dennis Chase: All about numbers for Dombrowski
Baseball is a numbers game. In Dave Dombrowski's case it's about those numbers in the win-loss columns.Continued ...
- Saturday, March 22, 2014
Dennis Chase: Blast from the past with Tigers in title game
We'll crown four state champions today in high school basketball. And here's a blast from the past — Benton Harbor will be playing for its first state title since L.C. Bowen led the Tigers to back-to-back crowns in 1964-65.Continued ...
- Friday, March 14, 2014
Dennis Chase: March providing lots of memories for Red Devils
Darrin Weber barely had a voice left Thursday. That’s what happens when you play four basketball games in eight days, win three on the last possession, two in overtime.Continued ...
- Wednesday, February 26, 2014
James Cook: Long game; lifetime memories
Monday’s seven-overtime regional game at Howe Arena certainly will be the stuff of legend in local hockey lore, but it may have earned even loftier status.Continued ...
- Friday, January 3, 2014
Dennis Chase: Walk-ons play starring roles in Rose Bowl
Score one for the underdogs. Kyler Elsworth and Trevon Pendleton had every reason to savor — perhaps a little more than most — Michigan State’s gratifying win over Stanford in Wednesday’s Rose Bowl.Continued ...
- Thursday, January 2, 2014
James Cook: Schwartz' firing was a gimme
Jim Schwartz' firing was inevitable. And, it can be argued, a year too late. Schwartz' tenure with the Detroit Lions has been one of a front-runner. Each season starts out better than it ends. (Aside from 2010, when the Lions finished 4-0 after a misContinued ...
- Monday, December 16, 2013
Dennis Chase: Back to Pasadena — 60 years later
Sixty years ago, when he was a 19-year old sophomore at Michigan State, Sam Mitchell and four of his friends packed a car and drove more than 2,000 miles non-stop to California.Continued ...
- Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Dennis Chase: Gordon sensed win by swagger
When Jeremy Langford busted a 26-yard touchdown run with 2:16 remaining Saturday night, effectively sealing the Big Ten Conference football championship for Michigan State, former Spartan Eric Gordon celebrated by sending his boss an email.Continued ...
- Saturday, November 23, 2013
Dennis Chase: Is Fielder trade just start for Tigers?
So I’m at the Post Office early Friday morning when I hear two men talking stats. Baseball stats. “Talking about the Prince Fielder trade?” I inquire.Continued ...
- Tuesday, November 19, 2013
James Cook: New deer rules bring optimism to area hunters
MANTON -- Who knows if the recent regulation changes had anything to do with it, but deer hunting in the Manton area seems to have been given a jump start. And it looks like it could be even better next firearm season. The hunters based out of our faContinued ...
- Friday, November 8, 2013
Bob Gwizdz: Check your rifle before Nov. 15
Checked the calendar lately? Firearms deer season — probably the single biggest day in Michigan outdoors — is bearing down on us like a runaway train.Continued ...
- Friday, November 1, 2013
Bob Gwizdz: Go north for woodcock?
Ask anyone; woodcock are birds of the north woods, right? Go north, young man. But when you look at it from a more national, less Michigan-centric perspective, well, southern Michigan pretty much is the north woods, isn't it? I've been mulling this oContinued ...
- Monday, October 21, 2013
James Cook: Lions unable to capitalize
By the time Sam Martin's punt only went 27 yards and set up Cincinnati's winning field goal, the Detroit Lions had already done plenty to keep the Bengals in the game. The Lions were unable to capitalize on the Bengals defense, which is normally veryContinued ...
- James Cook: Pistons will once again be interesting